Monday, May 30, 2016

"Oh! how I wish we never had another war!"

For Memorial Day, this is another unmailed postcard upon which Vera R. left a note for her friend Gertrude J. (The first was last week's Rangeley Lakes postcard.)

The Tichnor Quality Views postcard shows the World War Memorial in tiny Farmington, Maine. The memorial arch to soldiers who died in the First World War still stands, just a bit north of downtown Farmington. The most recent photograph I could find (around 2003, I believe) shows it surrounded by much more green.

Source: Wikimapia

Vera's cursive note on the back of the postcard states:
This memorial was for first World War. Oh! how I wish we never had another war! I worked in a home near this place for awhile in 1949.
Vera would certainly be distressed by the post-9/11 world in which we live. David Barno and Nora Bensahel detail this somber new reality in "The Price of Perpetual War" on the War on the Rocks website:
"The United States has entered an era of perpetual war. The U.S. military has been at war for 15 straight years with no end in sight. ... The traditional logic of American wars — that the United States would mobilize, fight, win, and end its wars through overwhelming force of arms — no longer seems to apply. Today’s wars can be characterized more as conflicts in the gray zone, ambiguous battles with less-defined shapes and even less-clear outcomes. This increasingly blurred line between peace and war is posing a range of new challenges for the U.S. military, for elected officials, and for the nation as a whole. ... What does this era of perpetual war mean for the U.S. military? First, “war” and “peace” are no longer binary conditions, as they had been for much of the nation’s history. This is one of the few times that the U.S. military has had to undertake the demands of continuous warfare while at the same time rigorously preparing for a wide range of potential future threats. ... [T]his era of perpetual war places significant stress on the force – not only because of the unending operational demands, but also because there is little national recognition that we remain at war. ... The men and women of the armed forces are willing to fight — and die, if necessary — to defend the nation. But asking them to do so without acknowledging that they are at war is simply wrong."
Indeed, let us not forget or minimize the reality that Americans are currently at war in Pakistan, against ISIL, and in Afghanistan.

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Related post: The poignant letters left at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial

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